Drilon: Signing of 2014 budget to boost recovery efforts
Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday welcomed the speedy signing of the P2.264 trillion 2014 General Appropriations Act by President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III after the legislation was separately ratified by both Houses of Congress last week.
Drilon, a Liberal Party (LP) ally of the President, said the budget’s approval “should translate to the timely activation of urgently needed services, particularly the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas.”
The Senator from Iloilo expressed elation over the speedy approval of the national budget, noting that the President’s go-signal means that the funding appropriated to agencies involved in the on-going relief and rehabilitation efforts “could be implemented and accessed in time by those who need them.”
House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. had earlier underscored that the 2014 budget would be the fourth government spending plan under the Aquino administration that would be enacted on time.
Included in the 2014 budget are authorizations worth P100 billion intended for the completion of various relief and rehabilitation programs on regions of the country struck by natural and man-made disasters in the past, especially those in the Visayas region affected by super typhoon Yolanda, stressed Drilon.
It includes the P20 billion rehabilitation fund and another P80 billion under the unprogrammed fund, which shall serve as standby authority and ready authorization for spending for the foreign donations and grants for victims of typhoon Yolanda, he noted.
On top of the P100 billion, the Congress has allocated P13 billion in calamity fund and P4.8 billion in quick response fund. Congress had earlier approved a P14.6 supplemental budget and extended the validity of the remaining P12 billion 2013 calamity funds by another fiscal year, Drilon added.
The Senate leader noted that all in all, there will be about P145 billion funds made available in 2014 for the government’s rehabilitation of areas damaged by the past calamities.
“In crafting the budget, the Congress took into consideration the need for urgent aid to our countrymen burdened by the damages of disasters. The sizeable amount of funding is absolutely necessary to equip the government in fulfilling its responsibilities to those left helpless by the calamities,” Drilon pointed out.
With the budget’s approval, Drilon then expressed optimism that the line agencies in the executive would be able to “maximize the allocated funding in service of the Filipino people, to whom the budget is wholly intended for.”
“We will exercise our oversight functions to ensure that every single peso in the budget goes towards the benefit of our countrymen,” he vowed.